Vladislav Kurdyukov became an academic writer at the age of 15 and since then has mastered the art of finding direct clients in the variety of spheres. Now he works with animation, game industry and crowdfunding platforms, but keeps insisting that his experience in academic writing made it possible to succeed in other spheres. Vladislav doesn’t believe in agencies, freelance platforms and is sure that only constant search of real clients can earn you a decent amount of money and reputation. Here is his story.
In the 9th grade, I was in love with history. I participated in every historical contest possible. The power of gossip made me popular, and the graduates of our school who entered universities in my city started coming to me with first orders. It wasn’t a burden, as I had already been spending all days in libraries. At first, I was afraid because I thought there was a big difference between how a school-kid writes and how university guys do. Later I understood that there are three things that really matter in academic writing: discipline, research, and communication. I use the same principles I used to get clients in academic writing for my other projects now. Once you master it, you can go far beyond student audience and realize your writing dreams, because you will be able to find people really interested in what you are doing.
Why direct clients, you might ask? It is hard to work with them, hard to find them, hard to make them pay, etc. It is much easier to wait for $2 per page from an agency. I see it as a dead end. Concentrate on finding direct clients, not only because they pay more, but because they stop being students one day. I work with people for whom I have been written academic papers in their college years, and now they are launching big animation project and I am one of their well-paid script writers. When I was making my crowdfunding project, some of my clients became my investors. Can you expect the same from the unnamed clients you communicate with through agencies? So, let’s get straight to business. I share with you my way of finding real clients online, you tests them and share the results.
Those are great platforms for some creative work, but not for academic writing, from my point of view. They are based on bidding, and I know I cost more than $2 per page. If you want to find real customers, you need to go to the real world.
It will take a while, but it’s a must for a serious writer. Structure information, give precise numbers and ask friends and existing clients to endorse your skills and give you recommendations. Write several articles about your approach to academic writing, challenges faced by students, etc. Pay $5-10 to some native to proofread each article. Potential clients should see you talking their language. I prefer to use Fiverrr, not Upwork for editing and proofreading.
Almost all universities host international students, but some of them are much more popular with ESL audience than others. I would recommend to start with: Arizona State University, Mississippi State University, Wilson College, Rochester Institute of Technology and Chemeketa Community College. You need to understand how students from these universities live, what do they like, where do they spend time and money.
Find forums, read Foursquare and Tripadvisor, follow Facebook groups. Lots of writers address clients in Facebook or LinkedIn, but it is nothing than spam. You need to find real people, active students, who like partying, who are social and easy going. If you do your homework well enough, you will have a list of places where students spend their time around the university you are interested in. Try to find them online using the information from Yelp and Foursquare (more convenient because it is connected to Facebook.) Look for them in social media, and referring to the comments they’ve made, offer your services. It might sound too intrusive but modern students live in the world of social transparency.
The previous approach was territorial, now you need to focus on student’s passions. To make your potential clients trust you, you should become one of them. I advise to focus on gamers first of all. There are plenty of them, they live online, and they are open-minded when it comes to the alternative ways of dealing with college challenges. Look for groups in Facebook which are dedicated to the popular games and investigate its participants. For example, there are more than 1000 of active participants in two groups dedicated to Dota players in NYC. Most of them are students, and most of the students are not from States. Become a participant, learn some basics, comment on the pics they upload to the group and using profiles choose your Top-50 to address directly.
I am sure you can come up with other options, but I believe they all will be united by the principles I mentioned here. You need to face the real world students live in, even if this real world is nothing more than a popular Facebook group.
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